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Title: Knew you at all
Summary: Sarah Williams wants to be a wizard.
Author's Notes: Crossover between the movie Labyrinth and Diane Duane's Young Wizards series. Co-written between [livejournal.com profile] katarik and [livejournal.com profile] ilyena_sylph.
Word count: 1957

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four


Sarah wasn't sure how long she had been following Twid when she heard something -- the quiet, high-pitched sounds of something in pain. Twid made a face, looking in the direction of the noises, but she said nothing as she kept trotting along.

The noises, though, got louder, as if something had heard the footsteps and was trying to get attention. "..ey... 'elp...."

"Shouldn't we stop to help whoever that is?" Sarah asked, pausing to look over in the direction she thought the plea was coming from.

"Did you hear something, feet? No, just noises in the woods, head," Twid said, shaking her head from side to side. "Silly ears, hearing things what be not there..."

Sarah glared at Twid. "Well, I'm going to help. You can keep going if you want." She left the path, looking for whatever was asking for help. It wasn't long, as she followed those noises, before she saw the uprooted mass of dark earth and tangled roots that stretched well up over her head, a sure sign of one of the great old trees having fallen. The old cypress had dragged other small trees down with it... not too long ago, from the look of it. As she went around the roots, the first thing she saw was a bright pink-purple foot flopping under the full weight of its trunk.

Sarah stopped dead, staring at the limb wriggling under the tree's weight. One of those? Yuerk!

She couldn't keep from looking, though, and she slowly spotted the other pieces of the Fiery pinned under parts of the trunk and the wide-spread limbs. All of it seemed to be trapped by the tree's fall, except for one small, brightly furry neon pink hand and wrist. That bit had apparently been knocked free, and was scrabbling around the head, trying to free it from the branches by tugging at them. The attempt was obviously futile, given the fact that the crooked, broken branches were broader than its wrist was. "Hey..." the head said loudly, voice ranging through entire octaves on the cry, blazing eyes looking at her. "Help, little lady?"

Sarah hated Fieries. She'd tried not to, after the Labyrinth, but she'd had more nightmares about them than she'd had about anything else in the Labyrinth. The bog, the monstrous golem, even the Helping Hands... none of them had left her with as many fears as those wild, dancing fire-spirits that had wanted to pull her head off and play with it had.

Except Jareth.

But she couldn't just leave something trapped, even though -- she'd wandered off the path, and this was going to take so much time, and... it needed help. It was in pain, and it was scared. "Sure," Sarah said softly, in a reassuring tone, and started carefully extricating the Fiery's head from the broken branches.

It rolled its eyes in relief at her, ears waggling as it chanted. "Stuck-stuck stuck, no-one else comes help, all alooone..." It trailed the alone off into a whimpering end.

"Know you!" It cried after a moment of silence, watching her move, then added in tones of aggravated bewilderment that made her think possibly the right word might be he, instead. "You throwed me, little lady! That's against the rules, that is!"

"You still can't take my head," Sarah told it, finally getting the head slipped loose of the tree. She let go of it, and turned to locate the next piece of its body. Now she just had the rest of it to work on -- her head came up fast, her body half-rising, as she heard a baby's wail. Aaron? It had to be, no other human baby would be here, Aaron might be close --

"Why not? Heads are for games..." the head bounced next to her, staying at roughly eye level as it questioned her by flapping its ears.

"I'm using it," Sarah said absently, torn between getting to Aaron as fast as she could no matter what she had to leave behind and finishing what she'd started.

"...so? Why don't your head come off?"

"I'm human. Our heads are supposed to stay attached, like the rest of us," Sarah explained, letting out a breath. She was used to babies crying, and that scream was the noise of a baby that was cranky and upset -- not in pain, or afraid -- and wanted his mother.

Sarah couldn't give him his mother. She had her own life, and she didn't want him. But she could give him her, at least for right now, and... the Fiery needed help.

Aaron needed her.

Except that he wasn't in pain, and he wasn't afraid, he was just a grumpy baby, and here was where she was. With something that needed her help, no matter how much she wanted to just leave it there until one of its gang could show up. Sarah blew her nose on her sleeve and went after an arm caught between a rock and a branch.

"That don't seem fun. Booooring," the Fiery said, but it flapped its ears to get closer, looking at the joint of her neck with curious, oddly blazing eyes.

"It works for us."

"Shoulders are stuck under dere," the head told her, while the arm she'd just freed twisted around in her hand to point out where the head meant.

"How many pieces do you come into?" Sarah asked, exasperated and a little creeped out. She hadn't actually meant to drop its arm. But she supposed it didn't matter too much, since the arm -- eurgh -- just twisted itself back upright.

"Lots!" the Fiery said happily, as its hand and arm started working on getting the torso-part -- which still had the upper part of that arm -- freed of one of the forks of the branches. As the torso itself was wriggling, it seemed as though they might have luck with that fairly soon.

Sarah went after the hip piece, getting it free with some determined yanking on one of the spars of the branch, then went after the legs, since its arms were working on its upper body. This shouldn't take too much more time, with it helping her leverage some of the branches off. The problem, though, was that the legs -- or at least one of them, the one she could see -- were caught right under the main part of the trunk, and this had been a big old cypress, thick and heavy enough to completely ignore all of her efforts to shift it.

Sarah growled under her breath. "I don't suppose this could've been easy, nooo, it just had to be something that would... take... time... " Her eyes widened. Had this been set up? Sarah hadn't even considered the possibility, even when she'd heard Aaron crying.

The Fiery finally retrieved its shoulders and torso pieces and bounced together, then hand-walked over to her and started scratching at the ground with quick, deep rakes of those long claws, trying to dig into the deep leaf-litter and loamy soil.

"Trying to go under the tree?" Sarah asked it, ignoring her suspicion. Setup or not, this thing still needed her help for a little longer.

"Can't move tree, dummy," the Fiery rolled its eyes, flame dancing in them. "Got to get legs. Can't play cricket without legs for bats," it complained.

Sarah rolled her eyes right back at it, matching its disdainful tone. "I noticed I can't move the tree. I was asking if you were trying to go under it to get your legs back." She wasn't going to comment on the insult.

"Over not going to work, must be going under."

Sarah eyed the tree, and the rocks and dirt under it. How much of what was in there could she talk to, maybe persuade to move a little? She wasn't going to know until she tried, and unless she could talk the tree into moving- - which looked very unlikely... "Hey," Sarah murmured in the Speech. "Don't you get bored of sitting there all the time? Wouldn't you rather move a little?"

The earth rumbled and rustled, but where the Fiery was digging, it moved a little easier. Sarah grinned in relief and pride, and kept talking to the dirt about sliding, about all the different ways it could move, petting it gently as she did. "Thanks," she whispered, when the Fiery had managed to retrieve its legs -- both of them had apparently been under there. Of course, as soon as the Fiery had its legs, it broke into dancing, singing a thoroughly bawdy, very off-color song about shaking out the knots as it did. Sarah shook her head, trying to ignore the particular words of the song as she got back to her feet. "Well, I guess I better keep going, now that you're loose."

The Fiery reached out to catch her hands, trying to sweep her into its dancing as it boogied, shaking all of its bits. "No, don't go, little lady!" it cried, spinning her around, caroling more lines of its song.

"I have to," Sarah said sharply, pulling loose from its grasping hands, from the desire to just let go and "chilly down" with it. She wasn't tempted, not now. There'd been times, in the last few years, that she would have taken the Fiery up on the dance, but she couldn't do that to Aaron. Not when she'd already stopped so often. She had to think about more than herself. "I have to get to the castle beyond the goblin city."

It tried one more time to catch her, then stopped, its ears drooping down along its jaws. "You be no fun," it told her unhappily.

"Jareth doesn't think so," Sarah said lightly, watching to see whether the Fiery would react to Jareth's name.

The Fiery's eyes sparked brighter. "Kingy? Bah, Kingy and palace and floofy shirts," it stuck its tongue out, making a loud raspberry noise of disdain. "But not good to keep Hisself waiting, either."

"No, I didn't think so," Sarah agreed, though the one she was worried about wasn't Jareth. "The path I came from... is that the way to the castle?"

"One of. Good as any," it said, not pausing in its dance as it snapped its fingers and glared at the tree, part of which suddenly burst into flame. All along the line of the trunk highest in the air, flames danced along with the beat of the Fiery's song.

Sarah blinked. She'd forgotten they could do that, but... "Put it out," she urged, "you'll set the rest of the forest on fire."

"Will not, little lady! Make good fire to call others, though!"

Others? Now, Sarah thought, was a very good time to get back to the path, since -- if she could trust the Fiery not to have been lying -- it hadn't been a trap. The last thing she wanted was to be caught in an entire gang of the Fierys.

She found her way back to the path fairly quickly. There was no Twid, now, not still there waiting, and not where she could hear her prattling on to herself, but the path was there, and it led on along the way. When it opened out onto a more familiar landscape, Sarah looked up in horror at the ruddy sun low in the sky, and on the other horizon, the crystal moon was already rising.

She didn't start running. It was too easy to miss something that way, and the Labyrinth loved to trick people with their own minds. But she started moving a lot faster.

***



run on to... Chapter Six

Date: 2009-01-21 06:36 pm (UTC)
sharpest_asp: Nate Ford sitting on a bench, Sophie Devereaux resting against his lap (Default)
From: [personal profile] sharpest_asp
Nice job with the Chilly Down Gang's member.

Date: 2009-01-22 03:06 am (UTC)
ilyena_sylph: picture of Labyrinth!faerie with 'careful, i bite' as text (only forever)
From: [personal profile] ilyena_sylph
Thanks so much!

Sarah confronting that makes me really happy.

Date: 2009-01-22 04:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katarik.livejournal.com
Thanks! I am glad it entertains you thus far.

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